Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Questions (301)

Jack Chambers


301. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Health if he is considering allowing for the establishment of dental hygiene practices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41028/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

My Department is preparing new legislation to replace the Dentists Act 1985. The current Act provides for the establishment of the Dental Council, which is the regulatory body for the dental profession in Ireland, and which is charged with promoting high standards of professional education and professional conduct among dentists. The Act also provides for the registration of dentists and dental specialists, education and training requirements, fitness to practise procedures, and the creation of auxiliary dental health professions.

In the period since the existing dental legislation was enacted, the profession of dentistry has seen significant changes and advancements, one of which has been the growing interest and uptake in careers in allied dental health professions. Consequently, it is proposed that the regulation of these professions, which includes dental hygiene, will be addressed in the new dental legislation.

While the legislation is still at the early stages of preparation, considerable work has been undertaken in formulating the policy to underpin it. It is intended to make provision allowing for certain designated allied dental health professions, including dental hygienists, to work without being supervised by a dentist once they are working within their scope of practice.